cover image The Line Up Book

The Line Up Book

Marisabina Russo. Greenwillow Books, $16.99 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-688-06204-0

Just when Sam has dumped his blocks on the floor, his mother calls him to lunch. Sam's not quite ready. He lines his blocks up; they stretch out from his bedroom door. His mother calls him again. ""Just a minute,'' Sam calls back. He wants the line to be longer, and sees his books. Those line up all the way to the bathroom. Bath toys, shoes and boots, trucks and carsand Sam is almost to the kitchen. His mother is almost out of patience. She starts to count to three, while Sam tries to think of a way to bridge the gap between the last truck and the kitchen door. ``He lay down on the floor with his hands over his head. Sam just reached the kitchen.'' On the count of ``Three!'' Sam's mother comes to see what has delayed him. ``It's terrific,'' she says of the line, ``But next time please come when I call you.'' Sam's dogged determination to finish his work adds an element of suspense to the story; the repeated calls of his mother will strike a familiar note, as will Sam's response, ``Just a minute!'' The paintings have a folk-art look and are full of homey touches: a checked tile floor, family photos and a simple lunch of soup and sandwiches. A focused concept, as precisely executed as Sam's final stretch to the kitchen. (3-6)